As of press time, it was full steam ahead for the return of Canada Night at NADA.
This event, initially sparked a few years ago by Alan Bird and his colleagues over at SCI Marketview, now taq Automotive Intelligence, was a good idea then — and it’s a good idea now.
While everyone likes a good party with great music, it’s about more than that. It solves a fundamental challenge with Canadians who attend this super-sized dealer conference as it rotates to various large U.S. cities each year.
Lots of Canadians descend upon NADA each year, dealers and their teams, suppliers and their teams, media, and industry association leaders.
Some set up pre-meetings and conduct business while there, but many others wander through the trade show floor and conference sessions, and take in some of the sponsored events and parties at night.
The challenge is, the event is huge and spread out over many days, so the odds of you accidentally meeting lots of other Canadians is pretty remote.
What’s been great to see, is the level of support, both financial and in time, that the Canadian suppliers are putting behind this event.
By gathering all the Canadians together on the eve of the start of the event, the Canadian contingents get a chance to meet, chat, network, catch up, and plan future meetings. In effect, they can do business.
This is particularly important for the Canadian suppliers who are sent down by their companies to meet and drum up business for their companies.
Canadian auto dealer is one of the media partners working to promote the event, and I have attended some of the committee meetings and planning sessions.
What’s been great to see, is the level of support, both financial and in time, that the Canadian suppliers are putting behind this event. While Alan Bird and his event team, led by Lara Appleton are still doing the lion’s share of the heavy lifting to get this event going again, the other suppliers are digging in too.
In the real world outside this event, some of these sponsors are also competitors (including us competing for advertising dollars with Automotive News) but for the greater good, people are working together and cooperating.
That cooperative spirit is part of the event’s DNA and something insisted upon by Alan Bird. All sponsors also pay the same and get equal billing in event promotion, so there’s no one company that can elbow their way to the front of the line for added exposure.
Above all though, the event is always a heck of great party, with great food, drinks and amazing Canadian musical acts. The first event in 2016 featured an intimate night of music with Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy. The event paused the next year to allow CADA to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a roaring party in New Orleans featuring Tom Cochrane.
In 2018, the event was back in Vegas with Alan Doyle, Great Big Sea’s frontman, and in the last event before COVID in 2019 the Barenaked Ladies blew away the huge crowd in San Francisco.
I won’t spill the beans on this year’s musical act, but suffice it to say if you are a Canadian dealer, you will want to act quickly to book your ticket for one of the hottest nights in Vegas in February. See you there!